BACKGROUND:

The American Board of Pediatrics charged a task force to examine fellowship training. As part of that process, a study was conducted to assess the perceptions of fellowship training by those who had recently completed training and those who were in the middle of their careers.

METHODS:

The American Board of Pediatrics provided a random sample of subspecialists stratified across all 14 subspecialties (N = 5072). Subspecialists were identified either as recent graduates (N = 2702), those who had completed fellowship within the last 5 years or as midcareer subspecialists (N = 2370), and those who completed fellowship 15 to 20 years ago. Two distinct 20-item structured questionnaires were administered by mail, 1 for each group, in January through March 2012. χ2 Statistics were used to assess differences between groups.

RESULTS:

Response rates were 77.8% for recent graduates and 73.8% for midcareer subspecialists. Overall, most subspecialists described their work primarily as a clinician (36%) or as a clinician-educator (48%). Fewer (12%) reported primarily research. The majority of subspecialists (55%) have full-time academic appointments, but recent graduates are more likely to do so than midcareer subspecialists (62% vs 48%; P < .0001). The majority (60%) believe that the overall length of training in their subspecialty should remain at 3 years. However, almost one-third (29%) believe there should be 2 different tracks in their subspecialty, shorter for clinicians and/or clinician-educators and longer for those pursuing an academic career.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found a significant range of opinion regarding subspecialty training. Some of this variation is undoubtedly due to differences between the individual subspecialties.

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